With Al being in the news lately with his ankle surgery, today we do a profile on him.
Al Jefferson was born on January 4, 1985 in Monticello, Mississippi. He is the son of Laura Jefferson. His father, Alvin Randolph passed away. He has an older brother, Jeremy (25) and 3 sisters Jacquelide (26); Dana (22) and Jazma (20). His nickname is "Big Al."
Al attended Prentiss High School in Prentiss, Mississippi. As a senior, he was a 2004 McDonald's All-American selection, was a finalist for the Naismith Award, and during his impressive senior season, he averaged 42 points and 16 rebounds per game. He committed to the University of Arkansas, but decided to forego college for the NBA Draft. Al became the first high school player drafted by the Celtics. Kendrick Perkins was drafted out of high school the year before but was drafted by the Grizzlies and traded to Boston.
At only 19, Jefferson arrived in the NBA with a 265-pound body. He absolutely dominated high school competition, and finished his senior year averaging 42 points, 18 rebounds, and 7 blocks a game. The low quality of his prep competition brought those numbers into question and dropped his draft stock, but Jefferson proved more then worthy of the fifteenth pick the Celtics spent on him. Al's second year was plagued by injuries. He sprained his ankle in training camp and that set his development back quite a bit. After his ankle healed, he finally was showing some great moves and was getting the Celtics Nation excited, when he sprained his ankle yet again. This time, the sprain was accompanied by a deep bone bruise and he missed most of the second half of the season.
These sprains have given Big Al a new passion for working out and getting into shape. After a rookie year that was filled with promise, he had 2 big setbacks in his sophomore year and had to face a lot of criticism because he wasn't in the best shape coming into training camp. He has lost 14 pounds since last season and is in the best shape of his career. He has also been spending a lot of time with Clifford Ray working on his defense and footwork. Although the bone bruise is still bothering him somewhat, he played in summer league and, although he wasn't dominant, he played well. He even dove across the floor at one point for a loose ball, showing his desire to step up his play this year.
In Al's rookie season, he didn't want to tape his ankles. After a sprain in his first season, he began taping them, but even with the tape, he suffered the two sprains last season. After the second sprain and bone bruise, the trainers are talking about using the Karl Malone tape job on his ankles, which is about as tight as humanly possible. He is also willing to wear a brace over the tape if that is what it will take. His ankle woes have made him a believer in taping and in the Summer League this year, he was telling everyone to be sure to tape their ankles. Clifford Ray also mentioned being able to give him some exercises that will help to strengthen his ankles.
Al chose the number 8 when he signed with the Celtics. Midway through the year, Antoine Walker was brought back to the Celtics and he wanted his number back. Usually these deals can be very lucrative to the player who gives up the number and Al could have made out pretty well. However, Al handed number 8 over to Antoine for nothing. "I just told him to teach me everything he knows about the game," Jefferson said. "Ain't all about the money." Al is truly a nice kid and anyone who spends time talking with him will tell you that.
Al's profile from NBAdraft.net says, "Jefferson has a future in the NBA. Unlike most players that are bigger than the competition, Jefferson works hard at getting position instead of standing around in the paint hoping for the ball. He is very confident in his offensive skills. He has nice footwork, soft hands and uses the glass well.
It’s pretty rare to see a post player take on the role as the vocal leader. Jefferson isn’t afraid of shouldering that responsibility. He is an intelligent player and helps his teammates understand their individual roles on the team. He’s a fierce competitor that will do whatever it takes to achieve his goals.
Jefferson does lag a bit in transition. That could be accredited to his added weight. He’s not a “fat kid” as some have put it. He’s just a really solid player. According to his coaches, Jefferson’s added weight has slowed down his jumping ability. They said that in times past, the big man was always dunking on defenders in the paint. Now, he uses the glass and plays a little more sheepishly. A workout program will do him some good in order to tone his body out."
Al has been working hard at taking the weight off and getting into game shape this off season. If he can get past the worry about his ankles, he should be able to dominate in the paint. Last year before the injuries, Doc played Big Al and Perk together and the results were very impressive. They played off of each other very well. I am hoping to see a lot more of that this summer.
The bottom line is that if Al can reach the potential that we have only seen glimpses of since he came into the league, the Celtics have a good chance of reaching the next level of the NBA. He has the ability and the tools to become an all star and Danny has trust that he will. In Al's words: "Danny trusts me because he sees how hard I've been working," said Jefferson. "I've been up here since May 7. He can't give up on me right now. He wants to see if this work is going to pay off for me. I'm glad he believes in me and trusts me like that. Now it's my job not to let him down. That's my goal." There are a lot of Celtics fans who hopes he meets that goal.
I'm not giving up on Al. Many have jumped off his bandwagon and are willing to call him a bust, or nothing more than a mediocre player, just because of an injury riddled second season. I just don't see how people can justify giving up on him so early in his career. If he redshirted last season because of his injuries, he'd have been a sophomore in college this season. He's still got such a long road ahead of him, and he's still got a high ceiling. He moves well in the post, often getting into good position to receive passes on penetrations. Best pair of hands on the team. He's raw, but rounding off the jagged edges rather nicely.
Things will start to fall in place for Jefferson once he's healthy and getting used to the speed of the NBA. When he did that last season, he was a double double guy.
Whoa, I meant to say AlJeff not DM. Looks like ky latent Dm crush isnt so latent anymore. Word of advice D, if you receive any large packages from North Dakota, my advice would be to kick it beyond recognition and throw it into the Pacific. My crushes have been known to ruin lives. Ask Steve Guttenberg.
I agree that Al is going to be fine. I have been thinking very strongly along the lines that Al had some real damage in the ankle -and it was being treated as a sprain. I just can't see that kind of recurring pain unless something was really wrong. I think now that they have finally addressed the problem and cleaned it out, he will heal and be ready for training camp. All of this did have a benefit though be cause Al is now determined to be in the best condition he can be as well as to prove all his critics wrong. I can't wait until he does.
Hopefully with this surgery, however "minor" it was I hope this is the beginning of the end for his ankle troubles. If it is, I really think that we will start to see a more ferocious and consistent Al. I think that he REALLY wants to suceed in Boston and I love his attitude about not letting down DA. I hope this is his year and he heavily progresses starting at PF and averaging 15 pts and 8 rebs.
And fresh. Take it easy man. DM is a good poster, and all. I like his posts too, but get OFF his bandwagon. jk.